Following the signing of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, with the Spaniard taking the vacant number 9 shirt, this week’s Forgotten Blue is a player who previously wore that number at Stamford Bridge.
This week’s player is Steve Sidwell.
A product of Arsenal’s famed academy, Sidwell was a part of the team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2000 and 2001, so there was hope that the midfielder could stake a claim for first team football under Arsene Wenger.
Unfortunately for Sidwell, he never made a first team appearance for the Gunners and was loaned out to Brentford, and later Brighton, but he was sold to Reading in January 2003.
Sidwell enjoyed an impressive four-and-a-half years at the Madejski Stadium, helping the club win promotion to the Premier League during the 2005/06 Championship season, being named in the PFA Team of the Year in the process.
Reading’s first season in England’s top flight saw the Royals finish in an impressive eighth place. This finish wasn’t good enough to keep Sidwell, who had attracted interest from a number of clubs. In July 2007, following the expiration of his contract, Sidwell departed Reading.
The side that snapped Sidwell up was Chelsea. He was given the number 9 shirt, as vacated by the departing Khalid Boulahrouz. Upon signing for Chelsea, Sidwell claimed he wasn’t there just to make up the numbers.
Despite his claim, it’s what eventually what Sidwell did at Chelsea. During the 2007/08 season, the midfielder made 15 league appearances, with most of them coming from the bench. He made a further ten appearances in other competitions and scored his only Chelsea goal in a League Cup fixture away to Hull City.
Unsurprisingly, Sidwell departed Stamford Bridge after only one season. The Englishman signed for Aston Villa in the search for first-team football. He spent three seasons at Villa Park, suffering from a number of injuries that hampered his first-team chances. In January 2011, he joined Fulham.
Sidwell spent two-and-a-half years at Fulham, lasting longer than he did for rivals Chelsea. The midfielder enjoyed a brief spell as captain, but lost the captaincy when Brede Hangeland was re-promoted into the first-team.
Following Fulham’s relegation from the Premier League in 2014, Sidwell was released by the club, and would sign for Stoke. During his two years at the side, he only made 13 league appearances. He was sent on loan to Championship side Brighton during the 2015/16 season, and would later join the Seagulls permanently in the summer of 2016.
During the 2016/17 season, Sidwell was an influential member of the side that finished second in the Championship and won automatic promotion into the Premier League. This would be the second side in blue and white that he’s helped gain promotion to the top flight.
There we have it, a forgettable player. But now that’s he’s back in the Premier League, what are the odds that he scores against Chelsea for Brighton?